The Historical past of Shopify (+ Who Owns Shopify At present in 2023?)

In case you are studying this, you’ve in all probability achieved a lot analysis into Shopify already, which is nice.

Shopify is the third-largest ecommerce platform behind eBay and Amazon, supporting 1.7 million companies starting from company giants to mom-and-pop retailers. 

However you could surprise the place all of it started.

For the curious, we’ve put collectively a little bit historical past lesson to elucidate the ecommerce platform’s early days, who runs it, and what transpired to drive it to broaden into some of the distinguished ecommerce platforms as we speak.

So, when did Shopify begin?

The history of Shopify - Infographic

How Shopify started

Finding business ideas

In 2004, pals Tobias Lütke, Scott Lake, and Daniel Weinand got here up with a enterprise concept to start out promoting snowboarding tools on-line by way of a retailer often called Snowdevil.

Sadly, the ecommerce platforms that existed on the time didn’t lower it for them, and so they took it upon themselves to create an ecommerce platform that suited their wants.

Lütke, a pc programmer, was on the forefront of this mission. However sadly, he encountered one other downside alongside the way in which. Every software he tried to make use of to construct the ecommerce retailer pissed off him.

He needed a easy and easy-to-use software, however the present off-the-shelf options like Yahoo! Shops didn’t supply it.

Lütke described it this fashion:

I arrange our on-line retailer primarily based on numerous programs comparable to Miva, OsCommerce, and Yahoo shops. Reality be informed, all these programs made my pores and skin crawl due to how dangerous they had been. The ultimate straw was after I obtained a customized design made for my snowboard retailer, and I couldn’t get it to work in Yahoo shops.

We had this nice CSS-based format achieved with all these new fanged ‘net requirements,’ and the customizability of Yahoo Shops barely allowed me to vary the background colour of the highest body.

So, he determined to construct all the pieces, together with the infrastructure for Snowdevil, from scratch. To do that, he used Rails, a programming framework developed by 37signals‘ David Heinemeier Hansson (now Basecamp).

They determined to make use of it due to the idea behind it. This system confused that instruments ought to be easy and fulfilling to make use of. This was precisely what Lütke anticipated when he tried to make use of the time’s subtle and unwieldy ecommerce applied sciences.

After two months of growth, the bare-bones Snowdevil was launched.

Then two years later, in 2006, the platform that hosted Snowdevil was renamed Shopify, finally filling the void for the type of platform its creators had needed.

Supply: Early model of the Snowdevil web site

How the Shopify ecommerce retailer concept happened

Two people searching on Google

After launching the shop, Tobias Lütke, Scott Lake, and Daniel Weinand felt they weren’t optimizing their potential. Their calling was extra inclined in direction of serving to different companies than working their very own snowboard retailer.

That’s after they determined to shelve Snowdevil and deal with constructing a service that can assist different retailers create their on-line shops seamlessly. That’s how the large ecommerce ecosystem we see as we speak got here to be.

Launching Shopify, the ecommerce ecosystem – 2006

In 2006, they formally launched Shopify as a set of instruments retailers might use to construct their very own websites.

The preliminary software assisted retailers in creating customizable store templates, monitoring orders by way of an RSS feed, and automating stock group.

In addition they included easy however important capabilities like image importing, tag addition, and merchandise grouping. 

Retailers might course of funds by integrating PayPal or a bank card processor. Though these components had been easy however essential for working an internet retailer.

Due to Shopify, entrepreneurs who had by no means traded something on-line had the fundamental instruments they required to create a profitable ecommerce enterprise for the primary time.

Shopify in 2006
Shopify in 2006

At first, development was sluggish, however issues modified in 2007 when the platform adjusted the way it charged retailer homeowners. Initially, they used to cost transaction charges as a share of every sale. This turned off distributors who had been making more cash.

So, to assist fulfill such retailers and create a win-win scenario for everybody, they transitioned to a subscription-based plan and added a modest transaction price that was decreased with plan measurement.

That is when the synergy between the enterprise mannequin and consumer success turned obvious.

Shopify’s product growth group now shifted their focus to creating instruments that assist shoppers promote extra since each sale for a buyer meant extra earnings in transaction charges for Shopify.

Shopify homepage in 2008
Shopify’s homepage in 2008

That is how Shopify began seeing their buyer’s success of their backside line. Really, by 2008, the corporate was doing $60,000 in month-to-month recurring income (MRR).

On the time, Shopify was primarily involved with offering first-time retailers with the basic constructing blocks required to promote objects on-line.

Essentially the most essential elementary options for first-time sellers had been stock administration, order monitoring, and primary analytics capabilities, which Shopify supplied.

The transition from a software to a platform – 2009

By the tip of 2009, Shopify had cemented its place as an reasonably priced, higher, efficient, and easy-to-use ecommerce software that changed previous options like Microsoft Commerce and Yahoo! Shops.

Acknowledging the dynamic energy of open-source software program, the founders determined to construct Shopify’s first exterior API and an app retailer.

Ecommerce is a extremely individualized enterprise. Each retailer needs a singular shopping for expertise however offering too many options makes the software program cumbersome and troublesome to make use of.

The Shopify API solves this by permitting retailers to put in precisely the options they should get probably the most out of their retailer…and our Companions can get a recurring income by growing nice functions for these shops.

Tobi Lutke, 2009

This transfer was pivotal to Shopify’s development as a result of it helped them broaden when different net companies had been shrinking.

Many net companies that didn’t transition from software to platform, as Shopify did, have by no means lived to see the sunshine of the day as we speak. Some, like Digg and Feedburner, had been acquired and folded into bigger firms.

The 2004-2008 software program software wave made the net friendlier by providing streamlined and easy instruments. They changed earlier instruments with huge function units that had troublesome consumer interfaces.

from a tool to platform
Shopify software to platform

Shopify homeowners noticed the chance and started the transition by releasing their API platform and app retailer in 2009. Builders might create and promote functions within the app retailer, whereas retailers might browse, purchase, and set up apps.

This enabled retailers to personalize and improve their on-line shops swiftly.

Shopify provides a cell answer – 2010

Shopify  on mobile

In April 2010, Shopify joined the cell revolution. They developed their first cell app for Apple. And for the primary time, Shopify retailer homeowners had been in a position to handle their shops straight from their cell gadgets.

Additionally, Shopify elevated its ecommerce promotion efforts by establishing the “Construct a Enterprise” competitors. This contest required enterprise homeowners to open a retailer in eight months.

They set excessive stakes to encourage participation: probably the most profitable startup would win $100,000 and obtain teaching from superstar entrepreneurs.

The problem attracted over 1,000 new on-line retailers, which made over $3 million in gross sales. Shopify was now serving over 11,300 shops and incomes over $125 million in gross sales from these shops.

Launch of Shopify 2.0 – 2013

Shopify 2 unveiled
Shopify 2.0 unveiled

In 2013, Shopify launched Shopify 2.0. A robust platform revamp with 60+ new options.

They analyzed buyer suggestions and carried out adjustments comparable to improved search performance, easier-to-use admin options, a dwell theme editor, and refund administration.

These makeover parts had been designed to make it simpler for companies to handle their Shopify shops. Shopify 2.0 additionally aided designers in swiftly prototyping and releasing new retailers and functions.

The Shopify funds platform, one of many fundamental causes prospects use Shopify, was additionally unveiled in August 2013. By 2014, the service had 120,000 retailers, and in 2015, the agency went public and started buying and selling at $28 per share.

Shopify goes public
Shopify goes public

Shopify’s success story with POS

Shopify POS launch

Subsequent up on Shopify’s journey is its Level of Sale system. They unveiled Shopify POS in 2013, delivering in-store and on-line stock synching, reporting for retailers promoting in bodily shops, and out-of-the-box bank card processing.

The brand new Shopify Funds software was additionally included, permitting retailers to sync funds on-line and offline.

This function eradicated the necessity for third-party cost channels, permitting retailers to keep away from them.

In addition they created iPads with a point-of-sale system that instantly accepts debit and bank card funds. This iPad POS remains to be repeatedly utilized by bodily enterprise institutions.

Bridging the hole between on-line and offline storefronts 2014-Current

However POS was extra than simply one other helpful operate. It was a pivotal second for Shopify, permitting it to broaden its attain additional. As a substitute of rising on the web, they meant to seize offline enterprise this time.

They strived to “enhance commerce for everybody.” This utilized to anyone promoting wherever, not simply these creating web storefronts.

Listed here are some main initiatives they took:

  • 2014: Shopify up to date its app to assist offline gross sales. Shopify Cell now works with Shopify POS. Retailers might use the app as an extra register at retail institutions, add and alter inventory listings, and mechanically refresh adjustments to precise retail areas.
Shopify app update
  • 2014: Subsequent up, they launched Shopify Plus, an ecommerce answer for companies with enormous stock volumes. It supplied limitless bandwidth and storage, customization, and precedence account administration.
  • 2015: Shopify launched Purchase Buttons to promote objects from any web site, not solely a Shopify retailer. The buttons allowed customers so as to add Purchase Buttons on their WordPress, Squarespace, and Tumblr web sites.
Buy Button
  • 2015: Nonetheless in 2015, they launched Multichannel Shopify to the platform, which featured a dashboard for sellers to handle gross sales throughout a number of channels.

    As a result of there have been so many alternative strategies to promote with Shopify—together with the ecommerce storefront, POS, and purchase buttons—retailers required a single space to deal with their gross sales.

Shopify multichannel
  • 2017: Shopify closed the hole between on-line and offline buying even additional with Shopify QR codes. They allowed customers to scan a code on a bodily merchandise with their cellphone digital camera and immediately entry it within the service provider’s on-line retailer.
Shopify QR code generator
Shopify QR code generator
  • 2019: Shopify and Snapchat launched an interface that allowed Shopify companies to purchase and handle Snapchat Story adverts straight from the Shopify platform. Beforehand, the platform had obtained related integration offers with Fb and Google.
  • 2021: Shopify introduced the acquisition of Primer, an augmented actuality (AR) app that permits prospects to discover residence renovation supplies digitally.

Adapting to offline commerce has been a significant driver of development inside Shopify. It has additionally enabled retailers who beforehand completely bought on-line to promote in bodily shops.

Because of this, Shopify can higher monetize its present shoppers by charging greater transaction charges.

Within the fiscal 12 months 2021, Shopify remodeled 4.6 billion US {dollars} in complete gross sales. Over the measured interval, Shopify’s total income elevated considerably, rising by greater than 4 billion since 2015.

Shopify revenue 2015-2021
Supply: Statista

Shopify’s historical past with dropshipping

The dropship model - Infographic

Despite the fact that the idea of dropshipping had been round for many years, Shopify shortly turned a dominant drive within the rise of dropshipping.

Dropshipping on Shopify allowed entrepreneurs to maintain prices low since merchandise had been solely paid for and shipped after buy.

With manufacturing, warehousing, and transport outsourced to a 3rd occasion, dropshipping gave entrepreneurs time to deal with advertising and marketing their merchandise and constructing their manufacturers.

Due to its ease of use and the number of apps obtainable so as to add stock to your retailer, it’s comprehensible why Shopify is turn into and remains to be a well-liked platform selection for dropshipping.

For instance,, a profitable area of interest ecommerce web site constructed on Shopify that makes a speciality of all issues cat, was launched in 2014. It was completely promoting merchandise obtainable through dropshipping.

Meowington origin
Meowingtons’s unique design

I counsel studying this text right here to be taught why Meowingtons is such a terrific instance (it’ll additionally include extra nice dropshipping retailer examples).

After which, in 2015, Oberlo was launched. Oberlo was a Shopify app that allowed retailers to show their retailer into an AliExpress dropshipping retailer, automating the method.

It was so profitable that in 2017, Shopify bought Oberlo and built-in it even additional. After which Could 2022, Shopify introduced that Oberlo could be shutting down.

Many Oberlo customers had been stunned by this, leaving them speeding to seek out an alternate possibility. Fortuitously, there are numerous Oberlo options that may aid you proceed your corporation.

For on-line sellers utilizing Shopify, Oberlo was a well-liked dropshipping plugin for years.

Customers might simply import merchandise to their shops and promote them immediately from the stock of hundreds of suppliers. The app provided an enormous vary of merchandise at low costs.


At present, due to Shopify, anybody can arrange a dropshipping enterprise. It is a appreciable change from when solely probably the most pushed people with a strong understanding of ecommerce might be profitable.

Associated article: Keen on studying extra in regards to the historical past of dropshipping? Try our different article right here!

What’s behind Shopify’s sensational success?

What’s driving Shopify’s success, and what can we be taught from them? Let’s discover out:

Pinpointing consumer wants and growing an ecosystem round them

They targeted on retailers’ main path, objectives, and ache areas to supply a hyper-relevant and very valued answer.

Shopify prolonged its options to focus on particular ache factors such because the checkout, level of sale, and success experiences after growing instruments enabling anybody to quickly and inexpensively create an internet retailer.

Empowering their prospects and enabling them to deal with what issues

As a substitute of requiring every service provider to jot down code to get their enterprise up and working, Shopify has constructed a strong framework that entrepreneurs can undertake, modify, and construct upon.

Shopify presents enterprise information and help along with technical assist. Decreasing the technical threshold for small retailers to function on-line shops is probably the most primary enterprise of Shopify.

Shining the highlight on their prospects, not themselves

Shopify, in contrast to opponents, permits companies to maintain their independence. Shopify portrays itself as a clean canvas on goal, permitting retailers to shine whereas Shopify stays within the background.

Profiting from the direct-to-consumer pattern, Shopify is glad to remain out of the limelight whereas helping its shoppers in shining.

Staying abreast of fixing enterprise and know-how tendencies

They’ve stayed abreast of fixing enterprise and know-how tendencies and constructed an ecosystem of focused merchandise that allow prospects to attain their objectives.

Versatile pricing plans

Shopify presents a number of pricing schemes with completely different options included in every plan and transaction charges charged. Shopify presently presents a 3-day trial + $1/month for the primary 3 months. (Extra information right here)

There are different plans with a month-to-month price starting from $29 to $299, plus a extra personalized Shopify Plus plan for bigger retailers.

Shopify pricing table

For extra details about this, try this text right here!

Earlier than we finish, let’s reply one vital query; who owns Shopify now?

Who owns Shopify now in 2023?

Shopify was based by Tobi Lütke and headquartered in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. “Tobi” Lütke is a German-born Canadian billionaire entrepreneur.

Tobi Lütke
Supply: Linkedin

Whereas Tobias Lütke remains to be with Shopify because the CEO, the corporate has been publicly traded since April 2015, when it filed for an preliminary public providing on each the New York Inventory Alternate and the Toronto Inventory Alternate.

This implies the corporate is owned by shareholders and managed by a board of administrators.


Earlier than we go to the ultimate verdict, we’ve created a fast abstract of this text for you, so you may simply bear in mind it:

  • Shopify was based in 2006 by Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake.
  • Shopify started as Snowdevil, an internet retailer for snowboarding tools. 
  • Tobias Lütke, and Scott Lake, ditched Snowdevil after they felt they weren’t optimizing their potential.
  • The preliminary Shopify product solely required primary instruments to create a profitable ecommerce retailer.
  • At first, development was sluggish, however issues modified in 2007 after they switched to a subscription-based plan.
  • Shopify transitioned from a software to a platform in 2009. This transfer was pivotal to Shopify’s development as a result of it helped them broaden when different net companies had been shrinking.
  • In 2013, Shopify launched Shopify 2.0. A robust platform revamp with 60+ new options.
  • They unveiled Shopify POS in 2013, delivering in-store and on-line stock synching,
  • From 2014 to now, Shopify has been bridging the hole between on-line and offline storefronts by way of numerous merchandise to cowl each on-line and offline markets.


There you might have it! From a snowboard store to an $11 billion commerce ecosystem. We hope you loved our temporary historical past lesson and that you’ve some context to grasp the ecommerce platform higher.

We’re devoted to serving to you obtain your objectives. In case you are new to ecommerce, try our article The right way to Begin an On-line Retailer for Free: A Step-by-Step Information.

There is no such thing as a time like as we speak to start out an ecommerce retailer. And you are able to do it with enough analysis and perseverance with out spending tons of money on on-line programs made by so-called ‘gurus.’

Should you don’t discover the solutions to your questions on this weblog, we’d love to listen to from you.

Good luck!

Wish to be taught extra about Shopify?

Prepared to maneuver your Shopify retailer to the following degree? Try the articles beneath:

Plus, don’t overlook to take a look at our in-depth learn how to begin a Shopify retailer information right here!

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